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Category: memoir

Help! I've Forgotten and I Can't Recall!!!

Yeah, I know, sort of a lame take on the iconic 1990’s television commercial featuring an elderly gal with a medical emergency who urgently needed assistance with her feeble self. Thanks to “Life Call,” she had someone who was able to prop her up, and all was well.

So far I’m not in need of Life Call to rescue me from a frail bone-related fall, but I am in dire need of some sort of life call to save me from an increasingly enfeebled brain. They say the mind is the first to go, and my memory–which until recently I’d successfully prodded into action with a regular machine-gunning of reminder alerts on my iCal each day–has taken a day at the beach and decided it doesn’t want to return just yet, if ever.

Thus, I have placed practically my entire memory in the evidently disabled hands of my MacBook’s iCal, which it seems has aged in dog years itself and is failing in its own wretched memory to remind me of all that I can’t help but forget. Two operating systems ago, my iCal reminders worked regularly, even though I overloaded the application with unrealistic demands: most every function of my day popped up to remind me to do it, short of basic hygiene functions such as “remember to brush teeth.” So many demands that while it reliably reminded me, it also crashed constantly. So I upgraded to a new operating system and the failures became rampant. My reminders would pop up for one event, but not for the next. But I’d not remember to check my calendar to see what it was forgetting to remember. The next upgrade failed me even more. I’m a victim of the memory of both me and my fail-safe computer, failing all over the place.

Since my calendar can’t even remember to remember, I’m holding out hope they soon come out with helper dogs for failing memories.

I felt a little relieved after chatting with my friend Tana the other day on the phone while she was preparing to leave for the gym. As she was talking on speakerphone, I heard water running in the background.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to the bathroom,” she said. “I’m just filling up my water bottle.”

Well, of course any woman with good girlfriends knows that occasionally we all happen to race into the loo while on the phone—it’s a hazard of friendship. So I just laughed and told her it wouldn’t have mattered regardless. We talked for a minute more when suddenly Tana stopped.

“Oh, crap. Where’s my water bottle?” she asked.

As if defining my dilemma for my own affirmation, she did what I regularly do: forgot the simplest of things in the shortest period of time imaginable. It’s what we do best. All day long. And fight it with the meager tools at our disposal to keep us from having to purchase ear horns and walkers and resign ourselves to our dwindling age and capabilities.

The other day I suffered the hat trick of memory shortcomings. First, I lost my reading glasses in the time it took to swap out shirts. A few minutes later, I became vexed because I couldn’t find the enormous pile of tax information it had taken me an entire day to find, which I’d then put somewhere I’d know where to find it. Shortly thereafter, I needed to recall the brand of car I’d rented a few days earlier, as I wanted to be sure we didn’t consider it while shopping for a new car. I’d made a point of remembering the brand. To no avail.

And that’s the thing. I’m always putting things where I know I’ll remember them. And rarely do. I walk to a food cabinet while fixing dinner, forgetting in six short steps what I’d gone there to retrieve. I wake at 3 a.m. with brilliant ideas, but don’t want to wake completely to write them down, certain I’ll recall by dawn. Never do. Yet then I wake up in the middle of the night over mundane things, like forgetting to soak black beans for dinner, only to not be able to sleep, recalling everything I need to remember to do that I haven’t done and worry that I won’t remember to do it. I leave notes everywhere, only to not know where the notes are. I record reminders on my phone. Only to forget to listen to them later.

Maybe life’s pressing needs are actually squeezing my brains dry. Sounds like I could use a good vacation.

A conversation between me and Tana these days goes something like this:

“Did you hear about, oh, what’s her name? Long brown hair, lives up that narrow mountain road.”

“Yeah, the gal with six kids?”

“Exactly. And that dog that smells like death. Her husband played in a band when he was in college—”

“Oh, what is her name? It begins with a P, doesn’t it?”

“It rhymes with my mother’s middle name, I think.”

“What’s your mother’s middle name?”

“Amanda.”

“Nothing rhymes with Amanda. But anyhow, we’ll think of her name. But did you hear–they’re getting a divorce.”

No! I always knew he was up to no good.”

“Who? Her husband?”

“Yeah. What’s his name?”

Well, you get the idea. We have all the minutiae committed to memory but the barebones facts have evaporated from our gray matter, by some brain-fog that has settled over our memories, doomed to cloak our thinking and force us into some Sherlock Holmesian effort to recall. Our trail of deduction requires mental bloodhounds, and it seems as if our dogs have got up and went.

“Between the two of us we have a brain,” Tana said. And she’s right. Which makes me think maybe I need to simply be paired up with someone, 24/7, from here on out. Because clearly at this point two heads must be better than one.

Welcome Prolific Guest Author Megan Crane

Megan Crane has been writing for what seems like a long time now. And keeps herself busy by writing in all sorts of genres, also using the pen name Caitlin Crews. She’s releasing not one but two books this month, so we’ll put in a plug for both and hope you find one that suits your fancy!

Tell me a little about your book.
Everyone Else’s Girl is the story of Meredith, who isn’t at all who she thinks she is, and how she figures out who she might be.

Pure Princess, Bartered Bride is the story of the arranged marriage of the ruthless Luc Garnier and the perfect Princess Gabrielle, and how they fall in love with each other despite that kind of beginning.
What got your writing in the genre in which you write?

EEG: I started writing chick lit/women’s fiction because I was living in England at the time and had discovered Anna Maxted and Marian Keyes, and I thought: yes.  And then: I wonder if I could do something like that?  I’d grown up on romance novels and the first person, confessional tone was like a light being switched on for me.  I had to try.

PPBB:I finally started writing romance novels years and years and years after I started reading them, and years after I was published, because I figured I had to at least TRY to write in my favorite genre.  I have such high expectations about the romance novels I read that I had pretty low expectations about my own.  I really didn’t think anything would come of the experiment.  But it turns out that writing romances is almost as addictive as reading them!

Favorite thing about being a writer?
I get to make up stories in my head, and then tell them, and make my living that way.  It’s more than a dream come true.  And I don’t, in fact, need algebra, as I told my math teacher in high school long ago!

Least favorite thing about being a writer?
Well.  The blank page is usually filled with all my doubts and fears, and that’s not a whole lot of fun to sift through to get to the words I need to write.  And you can never really take a vacation, because the work is always in your head.  And I become a little bit of a crazy person as a deadline approaches.  But I wouldn’t give any of it up.

What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author?
So many things!  It’s indescribably cool to see your book on the shelf of a bookstore, and even cooler to get the opportunity to hear what perfect strangers think of it.  I mean… all of that was IN MY HEAD, and now they’re TALKING about it!  That’s pretty fantastic.

What’s your favorite type of pie?
I love my mother’s pecan pie.  I wish I had some right now, in fact!

The Many Creative Uses for...Oh, Read on and Find Out!

We’re really into recycling in our household. We feel it’s an important service to the world to try to re-use products as much as possible before permanently discarding. And so I recently found myself in a dumping dilemma of sorts, something that needed some creative thinking to solve. Thank heavens for resourceful minds, because now I have 101 (give or take a handful) uses for discarded diaphragms, a service that will help keep landfills a little lighter, while serving the better good of America.

I’ve come up with over a hundred uses for discarded diaphragms, clever little things one could do after cleaning up the item first, of course. Warning: it is highly recommended that the product be thoroughly cleaned in a dishwasher before further use; plunging the diaphragm in boiling water may also be in order.

A good friend told me she came across her old diaphragm while cleaning out drawers recently. She compared it to finding your old retainer. Ha! After all, it is a retainer, of sorts!

Without further adieu, good luck, and let your imaginations take you away!

*send to 3rd world countries for re-use, like used eyeglasses

*trick nose for Halloween costume

*votive holder (paint with poster paints for decorative flair)

*mini-frisbees

*breastplate decorations

*poke holes in it, then use to drizzle salad dressing, olive oil and such

*planting tomato seedlings

*funeral shroud for thwarted sperm

*collect enough and you can glue side to side, row by row, on wall for decorative textured rubber walling (create your own rubber room)

*bouncy toy

*teething ring for baby

Here, chew on this, kid
Here, chew on this, kid

*eye patch

*strong bandaid if used with tape

*knee protectors for gardening

*individual condiment servers

*salt cellars

*turn over, spear with skewer, makes great mushroom decoration for Yule Log

*door knob grippers

*cut out rubber insides and use for ring toss game

*paint ten black and ten red and use for checkers

*fill with sand, glue to a 2nd one, and you get a fun hackysack toy

*turn upside, spear w/ skewer and voila, you have a Barbie Beach umbrella

*mod window treatment for portal window of you child’s doll house

*cover w/ foil and you have a delightful candle snuffer

*spear w/ toothpick, glue edge with fringe, and you have a fancy decoration for your Mai Tai

*stress-reducing worry toy (delightful spring action works for squeezing)

*hand-strengthener (again, squeeze, pulse, repeatedly)

*inexpensive sprinkler head for garden hose

*strainer for capers and canned wild blueberries

*candy dish (M&Ms)

*nose ring for Goth teens

*paint “X” on several, and use for clever tic tac toe game

*lid for cocktail shaker

*attach to chair legs to prevent sliding on or scratching of hardwood floors

*gynecologist’s sizing sample

*fill with sand, glue to another, and you get replacement Toss-Across beanbags

So the beanbags would be round, not square
So the beanbags would be round, not square

*line with cotton and you get a pygmy hamster bed

*nightlight cover

*earmuffs

*drain cover for sink

*earrings (large hoops)

*pendant (spray paint silver for the faux silver look)

*snowball mold (pack two together)

*fun floaty toy for the bathtub

*hollow out rubber middle and makes great choker necklace

*attach two together face to face to get clamshell

*nouveau demitasse for espresso shots

*dessert dish

*sorbet dish

*ponytail holder

*fill two together w/ warm water and use for cramps

*fill two together w/ ice for clever boo boo bear

*fill with water and freeze for attractive ice ring in punch bowl

*nipple shield (a permanent end to those nuisance high beams)

*slice out rubber insides and stack several for attractive arm bracelets

*remove rubber, cut through circle to create possible navel ring—simply insert through bellybutton piercing

*fingerpaint pot for the children’s painting enjoyment

*extra padding for bra

*juggling toys

*scooper for laundry detergent

*glue two together and make mini beach ball

*athletic cup for very small boy

*add tablespoon of sand, use as handy pumice device for callused elbows, heels

*mini bongo drums

*fill w/ whipped cream or shaving cream and sock your favorite politician in the face with it

*yarmulke

Gotta love the yarmulke-donning cat!
Gotta love the yarmulke-donning cat!

*build your own abacus (collect enough)

*great to store spare buttons

*pincushion

*makes great scooper for playing in sand

*coin storage in car (added bonus: rubber grips the coins, keeps them from flying out during sharp turns)

*place a dozen or so in swimming pool with candles for romantic evening poolside ambiance

*suspend from metal rod and lightbulb for stylish pendant lighting

*coaster(skid-free)

*dangle from rear-view mirror (paint first)

*one of a kind hood ornament

*glue feathers and hang from ceiling for spiffy Indian Dream-Catcher

*paint red and use as taillight covers

*dog toy

*measuring cup

*shot glass (shooters—sex on the beach, etc)

*ice cube tray

*paper clip holder

*shoulder pads

*fill w/ potpourri and cover, scent your underwear drawer

*gripper to open hard to open jars

*chin guard

*butter dish for lobster

*free prize in Cracker Jack

*McDonald’s happy meal toy

*toy inside box of Capn Crunch

*paint neon orange and attach to bicycle as reflectors

*paint glowing white and line the side of the highway with diaphragm reflectors to keep cars from running off the road

*Modern art collage

*heel cushions

*mouth guard for braces

*add propeller and use as beanie cap

*door knocker

*use for the number zero in house address signs

*fill with juice, add a stick and freeze, for a most unique popsicle

*science experiments

*Christmas tree ornament

*smear with peanut butter or suet, roll in birdseed, makes perfect birdfeeder in wintertime

*fill with coffee beans, glue another diaphragm to this, sealing edges, and voila, a castinette

*Finally, if you’re of dubious character…trap boyfriend into marriage by accidentally becoming pregnant while truthfully insisting you wore your diaphragm, yet omitting the details about it being old and full of pinholes